Mohs surgery

Mohs Micrographic Surgery

There are a number of treatments for treating precancerous growths and skin cancers including scraping, burning, freezing, radiation and standard excision.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is an advanced surgical technique for treating certain types of skin cancers and is best performed by a highly trained and experienced surgeon.  Mohs Micrographic Surgery offers the highest potential cure rates (99%) for skin cancer.  By removing the least amount of tissue, it also offers superior cosmetic results.  As it is a specialised form of surgery to treat skin cancer, Mohs Micrographic Surgery is provided in selected hospitals in the UK and we are fortunate to be providing this service in Kent.

The Type of Cancer Most Likely to Warrant Mohs Micrographic Surgery:

  • Are located in cosmetically sensitive or functionally critical areas around the eyes, lips, scalp, fingers, toes or genitals
  • Are large, aggressive, or growing rapidly
  • Are recurrent
  • Have ill defined edges 

For these cancers, common treatment methods are often not successful because they rely on the human eye to determine the extent of the cancer.  These methods may remove too little cancer, which can cause it to recur and require additional surgery.  It can also result in removal of too much healthy tissue and cause unnecessary scarring.  If a cancer has been removed by one of these common methods and it recurs, the chances of it being cured when treated again by one of these same methods becomes even less likely. The scar tissue surrounding a recurrent cancer may hide cancers cells, further complicating the decision of how much tissue to remove.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is the state-of-the art treatment for skin cancer in which the physician serves as pathologist and reconstructive surgeon.  It relies on the accuracy of a map of the diseased area and the precision of a microscope to trace out and ensure complete removal of the skin cancer - down to it's roots.  Immediate microscopic examination of the skin cancer allows the Mohs surgeon to see beyond what is visible to the eye and precisely identify the diseased tissue and remove only the diseased tissue.  Reconstructive surgery is undertaken immediately after microscopic analysis confirms  that the cancer is completely removed.  Mohs surgeons are dermatologists whose thorough knowledge of the skin and its healing properties helps produce the best cosmetic result possible.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, in one day, under local anaesthesia.  Of all treatments for skin cancer, Mohs Micrographic Surgery offers the highest cure rate (up to 99% for basal and squamous cell carcinomas) with minimal discomfort and the greatest preservation  of normal tissue, thereby minimising scarring.

For more information about skin cancer and Mohs Micrographic Surgery, please go to the American College of Mohs Surgery patient website

Educational video about Mohs Micrographic Surgery